Week 8 picks: Desperation is setting in

This week’s slate of games features the Edmonton Eskimos trying to stay perfect and three teams – Ottawa, Hamilton and Saskatchewan – trying to find a way to get their season’s back on track.

Ottawa Redblacks’ Greg Ellingson (82) is tackled by Edmonton Eskimos’ Mercy Maston (29) during first half CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday July 14, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

Edmonton Eskimos (6-0) at Ottawa Redblacks (1-5-1)
Thursday, Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Edmonton visits Ottawa on Thursday night coming off a 33-28 home win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The hard-luck Redblacks lost a 33-30 home decision to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and their five losses have been by a combined 13 points. That includes a 23-21 setback in Edmonton on July 14. Edmonton is 6-0 to start a season for the first time since 1961 and is doing it with a depleted roster. But a constant is quarterback Mike Reilly, who stands fourth overall in passing yards (1,945) and third in touchdowns (11).

Dunk: Edmonton can close. Simple. ESKS
Hodge: Ottawa will turn this thing around… but not this week. ESKS
Edwards: Edmonton has been finding a way, Ottawa not so much. ESKS
Gasson: The streak will end eventually but not yet. ESKS
Busby: There’s a desperation in the home side the visitors won’t match. REDBLACKS
Smith: Ottawa needs this. Badly. REDBLACKS
Filoso: Edmonton’s injuries finally catch up with them. REDBLACKS

Toronto Argonauts (3-4) at Montreal Alouettes (2-4-)
Friday, Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.

Toronto is coming off a 41-24 home loss to Calgary, a game starter Ricky Ray left in the second half with a shoulder injury. Ray won’t start and former Ticat Jeff Mathews gets the start. Argos coach Marc Trestman and receiver S.J. Green will face their former team for the first time. Montreal is coming off the bye, having not played since blowing a late 12-point lead in a 41-40 loss to Winnipeg.

Dunk: Argos ship sinks without its captain. ALS
Hodge: No Ray? No way. ALS
Edwards: Without Ray, the Argos a destined to struggle. ALS
Gasson: Who is the “beast” of the East? Who knows. ALS
Busby: Don’t like Jeff Mathews chances against that defence ALS
Smith: No Ray, no chance. ALS
Filoso: Coin flip game, I’ll take the team at home and coming off a bye. ALS
Totals: ALS 7 ARGOS 0

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols throws the ball during first half CFL action at the brand new Mosaic Stadium against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, in Regina on Saturday, July 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-2) at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-6)
Saturday, Aug. 12, 9:30 p.m.

Winnipeg has mounted late comebacks to win its last two games versus Montreal and Ottawa, respectively. Nichols threw for 319 yards and a TD last week against the Redblacks but the Bombers needed six field goals from Medlock to capture the victory. Hamilton remains the CFL’s lone winless team but played Edmonton tough following an embarrassing 60-1 loss to Calgary the week before. Assistant head coach June Jones will have the week to provide his thoughts on how to help the Ticats.

Dunk: It gets worse before it gets bette. BOMBERS
Hodge: Changing coordinators in August hardly inspires confidence. BOMBERS
Edwards: We’re reaching the now-or-never phase of the program. TICATS
Gasson: No good reason for this. TICATS
Busby: Misery continues in Steeltown as Bombers offence is too good. BOMBERS
Smith: They have to. TICATS
Filoso: New defensive coordinator, same result. BOMBERS

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Naaman Roosevelt, left, fails to make the reception as B.C. Lions’ Loucheiz Purifoy defends during the second half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday August 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. Lions (5-2) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (2-4) at
Saturday, Aug. 5, 7 p.m.

B.C. looks to sweep the home-and-home series after last week’s 30-15 home victory. Travis Lulay threw for 338 yards and a TD while Bryan Burnham posted five receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. Chris Williams had three catches for 75 yards in his Lions debut. Kevin Glenn was 19-of-27 passing for 186 yards and two touchdowns but it was Canadian Brandon Bridge who threw two TD passes for the Riders. Saskatchewan is 2-1 at home but 0-3 versus West Division teams.

Dunk: If you watched last week…LIONS
Hodge: B.C. completes the sweep. LIONS
Edwards: Jon Jennings returns to silence the doubts. LIONS
Gasson: Should be closer but still. LIONS
Busby: Tension is starting to mount in Riderville as Jennings lights things up. LIONS
Smith: Too many weapons for a bad defense to handle. LIONS
Filoso: Saskatchewan can’t beat Western teams. LIONS
Totals: LIONS 7 RIDERS 0

Season records
Dunk: 23-5-1
Hodge: 22-6-1
Edwards: 22-6-1
Gasson: 21-7-1
Busby: 19-9-1
Smith: 18-10-1
Filoso: 17-11-1

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